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DWI vs. DUI: How Sacramento Drunk Driving Law Differs

Posted by John Campanella | Mar 07, 2023 | 0 Comments

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is a criminal offense in Sacramento, California, which is essentially the same as a DUI (Driving Under the Influence). Under California law, a DWI or DUI refers to the act of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The state has strict laws in place to deter and punish impaired driving, including a "per se" law that prohibits driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. If you are suspected of DWI or DUI in Sacramento, a police officer may administer field sobriety tests and a breathalyzer test to measure your BAC. Refusing to take a chemical test can result in automatic license suspension.

Penalty differences in DWIs vs. DUIs

The penalties for DWIs (Driving While Intoxicated) and DUIs (Driving Under the Influence) can vary depending on the state and the circumstances of the offense. However, in general, both offenses are considered serious criminal offenses that can result in severe legal and personal consequences.

In Sacramento, California, the penalties for a first-time DUI conviction can include up to six months in jail, fines of up to $1,000, license suspension for up to six months, and mandatory attendance at a DUI school.

A second DUI offense within ten years of the first can result in up to one year in jail, fines of up to $1,000, license suspension for up to two years, and mandatory attendance at a DUI school. Subsequent offenses can result in even harsher penalties.

For DWIs, the penalties can be similar to those for DUIs. However, some states may have stricter penalties for DWIs, particularly for repeat offenses. Additionally, some states may use different terms to describe impaired driving, such as OUI (Operating Under the Influence) or OWI (Operating While Intoxicated).

It is important to note that the penalties for DWIs and DUIs can also vary based on factors such as the driver's BAC level, whether there was property damage or injuries involved, and whether the driver has previous convictions for impaired driving. It is critical to never drink and drive to avoid serious legal and personal consequences.

Steps to take after DWI or DUI arrests in Sacramento

If you have been arrested for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Sacramento, there are several steps you should take:

  1. Contact a DUI lawyer: The first step you should take is to contact a DUI lawyer who is experienced in handling DUI cases in Sacramento. A lawyer can guide you through the legal process and help you understand your rights and options.

  2. Attend your arraignment: Your arraignment is your first court appearance, where you will be formally charged with the DUI offense. It is important to attend your arraignment to avoid a bench warrant being issued for your arrest.

  3. Request a DMV hearing: You have 10 days from the date of your arrest to request a DMV hearing. This hearing is separate from your criminal case and is related to the suspension of your driver's license. Your DUI lawyer can help you with this process.

  4. Consider plea bargaining: Depending on the circumstances of your case, your DUI lawyer may recommend plea bargaining. This involves negotiating with the prosecutor to reduce your charges or penalties in exchange for a guilty plea.

  5. Prepare for trial: If your case goes to trial, your DUI lawyer will help you prepare your defense. This may involve gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and preparing for cross-examination.

Here are some questions to ask your lawyer:

  1. What are the potential consequences of a DWI or DUI conviction in Sacramento, and what are the most likely penalties that I could face?

  2. What evidence does the prosecution have against me, and what are the weaknesses in their case that we can use in my defense?

  3. Can we challenge the results of any blood alcohol tests or other chemical tests that were administered during my arrest?

  4. What are the potential plea bargain options available to me, and what are the pros and cons of each option?

  5. How long do you expect my case to take, and what is the likely timeline for resolution?

  6. What are your qualifications and experience in defending DWI or DUI cases in Sacramento, and what is your success rate in achieving favorable outcomes for your clients?

  7. What is your communication policy, and how often will you keep me informed about updates in my case?

  8. What are the fees associated with my case, and are there any additional costs that I should be aware of?

  9. Can you provide me with references from past clients who have faced similar charges, and what do they have to say about your legal representation?

  10. What can I do to assist you in achieving the best possible outcome for my case, and what should I expect throughout the legal process?

If you have been arrested for DWI or DUI in Sacramento, you may want to consider contacting the Law Offices of John Campanella. As an experienced DUI lawyer in Sacramento, John Campanella can provide you with the legal guidance and representation you need to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome in your case.

John Campanella and his team understand the seriousness of DUI charges and will work tirelessly to defend your case. They can help you understand the legal process, including your DMV hearing and court appearances, and will provide you with the knowledge and support you need to make informed decisions throughout your case.

If you are facing DUI charges in Sacramento, don't hesitate to contact the Law Offices of John Campanella for a free consultation. John and his team will take the time to listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and help you understand your legal options. With their experience and dedication, they can help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case.


About the Author

John Campanella

I have been representing people accused of drunk driving since I began practicing in 1995. I went to my first Sacramento DUI conference that year and listened to great DUI attorneys like Ed Kuwatch AKA, “Fast Eddie” and Lawrence Taylor who motivated me to study and practice in this area of law.


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